Discretionary Housing Payment
What is Discretionary Housing Payment?
The Council can award a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) where someone needs extra help with their ‘housing costs’. DHPs are not Housing or Council Tax Benefit, but you must be in receipt of one or both of these benefits to be able to claim. You cannot get additional help if you are already receiving full Housing and/or Council Tax Benefit.
DHPs can be awarded to top up Housing or Council Tax Benefit, but the total amount cannot be more than your rent liability for Housing Benefit, or the amount of Council Tax you have to pay. The shortfall to these benefits may exist for a number of reasons, for example:
- Housing Benefit has been restricted under the maximum rent rules
- The presence of a non-dependent the household
- The level of income of the household
- Single Room Rent Restriction, due to the claimant being under 25 years of age.
There are some charges that DHPs cannot cover, for example:
- Charges for water rates
- Charges for tenants levy
- Service charges (e.g. heating, hot water etc)
The amount of the DHP award depends on the your individual circumstances, and you must demonstrate that you are suffering from financial hardship due to the shortfall in your benefits. The award is intended as a short-term measure to alleviate poverty or difficult circumstances and should not be relied upon in the long term.
The funding for DHPs comes from Central Government and is limited each year, so when it has been spent no more awards can be made.
How do I apply for a DHP?
To apply for a DHP you will need to complete a Discretionary Housing Payment Form [.pdf 11KB]. The form will ask for a breakdown of your weekly expenditure and reasons why you are requesting additional financial help.
The breakdown of your expenditure should include details of how much you spend each week on such items as:
· Bills – electricity, gas, telephone
· Children’s expenses
· Travel costs
You must identify and list all your household expenses.
You do not normally have to provide details of your income as we obtain this information directly from your current Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit claim.
You can obtain advice on claiming a DHP and an application form either by:
Telephoning the Benefit Section on 01285 623035 (surnames A – K) or 01285 623036 (surnames L – Z)
Or by writing to the:
Benefit Section, Cotswold District Council, Trinity Road, Cirencester, GL7 1PX
The completed form needs to be returned to the above address.
What happens next?
Once your claim has been assessed, you will be informed of the decision in writing.
How will the DHP be paid?
A DHP will normally be awarded for a short period of time and is reviewed by the Senior Benefits Officer
· If you are an Owner Occupier
DHPs will be paid directly to your Council Tax account
· If you are a Private Tenant
DHPs will be paid under the same arrangements as Housing Benefit (i.e. either directly to yourself or directly to your landlord)
What if I disagree with your decision?
If you do not agree with our DHP decision you can write and ask us to look informally at your application again. To do this you must write to the Benefit Section within one calendar month of the date of the decision letter and provide any additional information that you feel may help your application. We will then review our decision and write to you with the outcome.
There is no right of appeal against the refusal to allow a DHP.
Download related documents
Discretionary Housing Payment Application Form
This document is available for download in the following format(s):
- Discretionary Housing Payment Application Form - PDF format (11 Kb )
- Discretionary Housing Payment Application Form - Word format (15 Kb )